Monday, January 28, 2013

Raising a Reader--Birth to Toddler

I'm not sure how qualified I am to talk about reading with children but I thought I'd start sharing a few of my ideas, tips and favorite books to go along with my Parenting Book Challenge for this year.

When my son was about two years old, some out-of-town guests came to visit.  The little boy was the same age as my son and he was a little whirling dervish.  His energy was both infectious and overwhelming.  My son didn't know what to think about his energetic new friend and had the wisdom to withdraw to a corner when he felt overwhelmed and page through a book.  The mother was really surprised.  She couldn't believe Noodlebug would sit still with a book AND calmly turn paper pages without ripping them. "How did you get him to do that?!" she asked me.

The answer....."I don't know."

I started reading to Noodlebug when I brought him home from the hospital. It might feel a little strange to be reading to a newborn but I liked the idea of him hearing my voice.  Once he was able to grasp things and start sitting up, I started giving him board books.  I would sit him in my lap and read to him and say "turn page!" to signal him to turn the page. He got the idea pretty quickly.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. We adored the whole Karen Katz series of Lift-a-Flap books. 

 If you enjoy her books, she has versions for most holidays which adds to the fun.

2. John Schindel's BUSY books are delightful with their wonderful photographs and great vocab words:

Since we are cat people, we especially loved BUSY KITTIES although BUSY MONKEYS was also a favorite.

3. I adored Sandra Boynton as a child and love her board books which will entertain adults as well:

4.  An oldie but goodie:

There is a good reason why these have been around for so long.  And now you can get other editions like PAT THE CAT!

5. Once your little reader gets a little older and has more control, I highly recommend Matthew van Fleet's books:

 There are a whole bunch of them now!!! They are a little more advanced than board books with lots of moving parts and interactives.

6. I also recommend looking for classic children's picture books that come in both hardcover and board book editions. You can start your little one on the board book edition and then work your way up to the picture book.  So many great picture books are now available in board book format.

Of course, the most important thing is to read to your child.  By taking the time to do this, you are demonstrating the importance and value of reading.  It can get really difficult sometimes when a child wants to hear the same story fifteen times in a row but try to do it if you can.  They are learning the story, listening for words and identifying rhymes and patterns.  It may get old for you but not for them!!! Book with repetition, rhythm and rhyme always go over big!

I don't know when my son will start reading on his own and I'm not worried about it.  Right now, I'm just enjoying the experience of reading with him.  A few months ago, we started reading beginning reader chapter books together. He is 4.5 years old.  I can't wait to see what happens next!

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